What can commercial fishery data in the Great Lakes reveal about juvenile sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) ecology and management?

Journal of Great Lakes Research
By: , and 

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Abstract

The Laurentian Great Lakes of North America support a large and profitable freshwater fishery, but one continuously beset by parasitism from the invasive sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). Despite being the life stage that inflicts damage to the fishery, therefore necessitating a bi-national control program, our knowledge of juvenile sea lamprey ecology is poor and their response to control efforts are not assessed. Incidental capture of juvenile sea lamprey by commercial fishers is one means to collect data on this enigmatic life stage, and in Lake Huron such data have been collated since 1967. Here, we explore incidental captures of juvenile sea lamprey and their hosts from northern Lake Huron between 1987 and 2017 (n = 33,246 observations) to address four objectives. Firstly, we document collection efforts by fishers to provide historical context to the dataset. Secondly, we pose and test a series of questions related to fishery encounter, host selection, growth, distribution, and sex ratio to highlight how these types of data can be informative regarding juvenile sea lamprey ecology. Results presented here could be used to develop biological hypotheses to be addressed in future work. Thirdly, we directly assessed whether juvenile sea lamprey capture data could be useful in corroborating trends observed in adult sea lamprey abundance and wounding, as well as in identifying abundance and wounding hotspots. Lastly, we summarize research and outreach efforts that have benefited from the capture of juvenile sea lamprey in recent years.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title What can commercial fishery data in the Great Lakes reveal about juvenile sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) ecology and management?
Series title Journal of Great Lakes Research
DOI 10.1016/j.jglr.2021.03.023
Edition Online First
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
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